Acne is the most common skin related ailment in the United States, and although it is non-lethal it can have very detrimental psychological effects due to its highly visible nature and the scarring it can cause on the skin. Acne can effect all age groups but it is most prominent in the 12-24 age group.
Acne is most common among teenagers. It is caused when excess oil on the skin (which is ordinarily absorbed or let out of the pores) clogs the pores causing sores which are often called pimples, zits or spots. Teenagers often suffer from hormonal imbalance in the oil producing glands during puberty, this can cause too much oil to be produced leading to acne.
Acne typically occurs on the face, neck, and upper body. It is most commonly found on the face, this is particularly bad since it is the most visible place the acne can occur.
Facial acne can cause great embarassment to its sufferers.
It is not understood why some people never develop acne whereas some people suffer chronically from it. As already mentioned hormones have a great role to play in acne formation, in particular the male sex hormone androgen. This hormone is produced in the bodies of boys and girls at puberty and can cause acne to develop. Changes in hormones caused by pregnancy or contraceptive pills can also induce acne.
Hormones are not the only factor present in acne formation.
Surpisingly, while not really inheritable, acne can be traced along hereditary lines. So a family history of acne can raise the chance of young people in that family contracting it at some point in their puberty. One good measure you can take to prevent acne is to ensure you keep clean. Uncleanliness can be a factor in acne development (although by no means is it the only factor). Humidity and pollution can lead to acne also by blocking pores.
On the other hand, there are many popular myths and delusions about what causes acne. Acne does not occur as a result of stress, or of eating chocolate and greasy food.
Also, acne is not an infectious disease, i.e. it cannot be transmitted by touch or through a sexual intercourse (like Chlamydia ~ which is also a skin disease but is transmitted sexually).
Acne prevention, if possible at all, is very difficult. What can be done is to take the necessary measures not to make it worse. In most cases, a visit to the dermatologist is mandatory in order to prescribe treatment but still there are remedies that do not involve drugs.
The most important rule is to keep one~s skin clean and not to squeeze the pimples. Squeezing the pimples temporarily removes your enemy from your face but it does not remove the cause for the disease and what is worse ~ if the pimples get infected, more treatment will be needed.
As already mentioned, hygiene is very important for keeping acne under control. When skin is dirty, this places an additional burden on the pores, thus making oil secretion even more difficult. Therefore, it is recommended always to use clean towels (preferably paper ones, since they cannot have been used by somebody else before you) to wipe one~s face. Also, often change your pillowcase, because it is another item that frequently comes into contact with the face.
Using specially designed cleaning lotions can help to remove oil, sweat and acne-producing bacteria from the face, just take care not to scrub your face too hard as this can irritate any pimples on your face and make the acne worse.
David Perzman is the owner of
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